Op-Ed: Yes, It’s Racist That You Want to Save Splash Mountain

in Disneyland Resort, Op-Ed

Splash Mountain at Disneyland

Credit: Disney

Crowds swarmed Disneyland Park on Tuesday, May 30, to ride Splash Mountain one last time. Like its Magic Kingdom counterpart, the ride is breaking records on its final operating day. The controversial log flume ride will reopen as Princess and the Frog (2009) themed Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort in 2024.

Some fans mourn the ride, despite its deteriorating conditions in recent months. One named her baby after it. Another spent days protesting solo outside The Walt Disney Company headquarters in Burbank, California.

While sadness at losing a nostalgic Disney Park attraction is understandable, no one should be begging for Splash Mountain to stay. The Princess Tiana retheme puts the Disney Parks on the right side of history, replacing the racist Song of the South (1946) with the first Black Disney Princess.

Interior of Splash Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland
Credit: Disney

Thinly-veiled defenses of the ride argue that the animated characters have no connection to the racist aspects of the film. Uncle Remus, the iconic character who inaccurately represents life for Black Americans post-Civil War, is nowhere to be seen. But the human characters aren’t the only problematic parts of the widely-banned film.

The animated animals in Song of the South that appear in animatronic form on the ride – Br’er Fox, Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Bear – speak in offensive, stereotypical dialect. Author Ken Emerson reported that the ride’s iconic song, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” is likely based on a Civil War song called “Zip Coon,” named after a racist slur directed at African-Americans in the Jim Crow era.

Try as they might, fans cannot save Splash Mountain. It’s time to accept that the ride is changing for the better and be on the right side of history.

More on Splash Mountain

Guests ride on logs through water on Splash Mountain
Credit: Tokyo Disney Resort

Starting tomorrow, you’ll need to visit Tokyo Disneyland for a trip into the Briar Patch. “Drop into a whimsical world filled with classic characters and songs on this thrilling log-flume adventure,” the official Disney ride description reads. “Hop inside a hollow log and float through a colorful bayou as you follow happy-go-lucky Br’er Rabbit to his ‘laughing place.’ But be warned: Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox are in hot pursuit of this wayward hare.”

Related: Disney Is Reportedly Retheming Iconic Space Mountain

“Glide past over 100 talking, singing, storytelling Audio-Animatronics critters who inhabit Splash Mountain and offer up their own slice of down-home culture. Sing along to classic Disney ditties, including ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.’ Then, brace yourself for the big finale—this musical cruise ends in a thrilling 5-story splashdown!”

Are you excited about Tiana’s Bayou Adventure? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments. 

*Editor’s Note: This Op-Ed reflects the viewpoints of its author and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Inside the Magic or any of its writers. 

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